Leaving the Past Behind
Episode #9 of the course Handling difficult people by Chris Croft
Welcome to the last lesson of this course! It’s about the past and the future.
You can’t change the past, and going back to it will only annoy you more. Whatever has happened has happened, it’s just a question of how to move on from here. Today, we’ll talk about this in more detail.
Baggage and Nostalgia
Some people walk around dragging behind them all the baggage from their whole life. Every unfair thing, every unlucky thing, every inherited disadvantage, every grievance from every person they’ve met, this all comes to bear on each new interaction they have. They are already angry or bitter before they even start, they have already decided that it’s going to be difficult—so of course, that’s how it becomes.
The other type of baggage is to be wishing that the great past could be brought back again. “It’s not like the old days, if only it could be like it used to be, I remember when the world was a much better place.” Even if this is correct and not a distorted memory, you can’t get it back—it’s gone.
For both cases, the only useful question is, “We are where we are, and what’s the best way to handle what we have NOW?”
FIDO stands for “Forget It and Drive On.” Generally, I think this is a great rule to live by, but I’d like to suggest a refinement, which is not quite as catchy to remember (“LFIFIDO”), which is to “Learn from it, then forget it and drive on.” Because unless you learn from hardships, you’re going to find yourself in the same situation again.
So, if you are dealing with someone who has a history of being difficult, all you can do is to learn from what they did last time, how you reacted, and what happened. But don’t hold it against them. Instead, develop a plan and imagine your new approach being incredibly effective and everything going really well with them. Imagining a good outcome makes it more likely to happen that way.
Homework: Think about yourself: Do you sometimes hark back to the past, either in a bad way (regretting things that happened) or in a good way (wishing you could return to it)? Think about how you could be more positive about the future: What can you actually do to make the future better rather than getting stuck in the past? Then think about one or two difficult people you deal with: How can you get them to let go of the past and focus more on the future, and how can you see a better future with them?
So, that’s it for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed the course! Have fun trying out my ideas!
P.S. Liked the course? You can continue learning! Get Chris’s book of assertiveness, The Big Book of Happiness (Kindle or paperback), go on a course and be taught by Chris in person www.chriscroft.co.uk/events, or sign up for Chris’s free monthly email tip.
Other courses by Chris Croft
• Leadership: How to Be a Great Boss
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